To the original poster: here is the article. Choose what you like and enjoy. I am sorry I did not buy one sooner. I enjoy reloading so much more since buying one.
Electronic Dispensers and Efficient Reloading
Our resident “Tactical Triggerman”, Froggy, did the shop and field testing for all three units. In “real life” Froggy works as a production manager in the aerospace industry, supervising the fabrication of high-tech electronic components. He knows a few things about efficient production processes. After conducting the test, he ventured some opinions, both about the equipment, and how they can serve to reduce loading time. Here’s his report:
“To sum this all up I have to say, based on my data, the RCBS is King. The RCBS for me wins hands down over the competition in speed, features and user friendliness. You can see by the data the RCBS dispenses powder almost twice as fast as the Lyman and PACT. That’s signficant–more so than you may think as I explain below. Speed is the primary reason to purchase one of these machines. I want to spend less time reloading and more time shooting.
In comparing the three machines, I feel that where the other two dispensers falter the RCBS ChargeMaster shines–speed and ease of use. The Lyman has some serious flaws, in my mind–excessive warm-up time, unstable zero (Lyman recommends you “check zero” frequently to avoid drift issues), and a powder chamber that is very hard to clean. The PACT is a decent unit, but you have to re-calibrate whenever you change powders. A couple of things I would like to see added to all
these units would be a graduated hopper and a stand to get the unit up high enough to easily dump the powder.
I am now a confirmed believer in digitally controlled automatic powder dispensing. Using the RCBS Chargemaster, I cut my reloading time by 60% (full analysis below). That means I can generate the same amount of ammo in less than half the time! My shooting tests, performed with both my 6.5-284 and my .308, show that rounds produced with the RCBS unit are just as accurate as those produced manually with a balance-beam scale. With the ChargeMaster, then, you save lots of time with no negative effects on accuracy.”
Lean Manufacturing Principles as Applied to Reloading
I would like to share some methods used in the world of manufacturing and explain how they can be used with a digital powder dispenser to cut your reloading time by 60%. These methods are “Lean Manufacturing” and “Single Piece Flow”.
By working on other loading tasks while the ChargeMaster throws charges, I can produce more than twice as much finished ammo in a given time period. The machine more than doubles my productivity.
Single Piece Flow is a methodology used in Lean Manufacturing to speed up a process. Where multiple operations are used to built a part, the object is to do this process in the most efficient and productive way, thus improving profit margin. We can apply Single Piece Flow to loading with digital powder dispensers. End result–more ammo in less time.
The old-fashioned production method was referred to as “Batch and Queue”. Unfortunately, Batch and Queue can waste a lot of time. To demonstrate, let’s say we are going to process 100 rounds, each requiring four operations:
Op 1 – Weigh powder
Op 2 – Place powder in the case
Op 3 – Insert bullet
Op 4 – Place finished round into case
Calculating the process time per operation for one loaded round, we get:
Op 1 – Weigh powder = 30 Seconds
Op 2 – Place powder in the case = 3 Seconds
Op 3 – Insert bullet = 15 Seconds
Op 4 – Place finished round into case = 3 Seconds
Total process time = 51 seconds per round.
For 100 rounds, that’s 5100 seconds, which works out to 1.416 hours or 85 minutes.
Now we can see that our longest Batch and Queue sub-operation (Op1), is 30 seconds for weighing a powder charge. If we can improve that time we’re putting money in the bank. Reducing Op 1 time is where the ChargeMaster excels. Our tests showed the RCBS ChargeMaster dispensed 50.5 grains of H4831sc in 8-11 seconds–let’s just call it 10 seconds. Then we add 3 seconds to put the powder in the case, 15 seconds to seat the bullet, and 3 seconds to place the finished round in the case. That give us a total of 31 seconds. So, just by using the dispenser (vs. a manual powder measure), we’ve reduced load time by 20 seconds (from 51 to 31 seconds per round).
But we’re not finished yet. If we can simultaneously
put powder in a case and seat a bullet, WHILE the powder (for the next round) is being machine-dispensed we can save even MORE time. In other words the human keeps working as the machine is cranking. Doing that, we can knock assembly time all the way down to 21 seconds per round. (How’d he do that, you might ask–well the machine is doing the weighing job while the human is doing something else at the same time, so it’s like having two guys on the job).
What, then, is the net benefit of using the ChargeMaster? Well, you may be surprised–we can basically produce equal-quality ammo in less than half the time. Here’s how that works:
100 Rounds Manually Weighed:
51 seconds x 100 = 5100 seconds = 85 minutes
100 Rounds ChargeMaster Weighed:
21 seconds x 100 = 2100 seconds = 35 minutes
That’s a 50-minute savings per 100 rounds of 6.5-284. I’ve reduced my overall reloading time by roughly 60% (58.8% to be precise). Or look at it this way–I can produce the same amount of finished ammo in less than half the time! To me that’s compelling. And the more you load, the more time you’ll save.